The Slatest

It Seems Bad That the Guy Running for Governor in Georgia Is Also In Charge of Who Gets to Vote in Georgia

Brian Kemp raises his hand in triumph from behind a lectern at his primary victory party, which appears to be taking place in an office park conference room.
The drop-ceiling office-park-conference-room look is a little low-budget for a Republican primary-night party. Shouldn’t he be in the Mahogany Room at the Old Confederacy Club or something?
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

I’m no professor of political theory, here, folks, but does this seem like a good idea? From the AP:

Appling-Nunez’s application [to register to vote] is one of over 53,000 sitting on hold with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. … Kemp, who’s also the Republican candidate for governor, is in charge of elections and voter registration in Georgia.

I mean, I don’t have a doctorate in figuring out who should be in charge of what—but jeez, doesn’t that strike you as a tad bit fishy? Especially given this, below, and the way racial demographics and party affiliation work in the U.S.:

Georgia’s population is approximately 32 percent black, according to the U.S. Census, but the list of voter registrations on hold with Kemp’s office is nearly 70 percent black.

Friends, I’m going to be honest with you here: I’m not a highly trained jurist or decorated elections-law specialist. But doesn’t it just seem, even to us laypeople, like there just might be something amiss with this situation? Quoting now from an older McClatchy report on how Kemp’s office handles voter registration:

The most recent lawsuit challenges a state policy that automatically rejected voter registration forms if letters, numbers, hyphens, spaces or even apostrophes in the applications didn’t match up perfectly with state records. … Of nearly 35,000 registration forms that were canceled or placed in “pending status” for the data mismatches from July 2013 to July 2016, nearly 64 percent were submitted by blacks, according to the suit.

I’m not trying to get ahead of myself here, but maybe the guy who, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said this

“Registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if [Democrats] can do that, they can win these elections in November,” Kemp [said] to Gwinnett County Republicans in 2014.

—is not the ideal person to have in charge of deciding which black voters get to vote in the election he’s running in?

Maybe that’s not a good idea?

It doesn’t seem like a good idea. It seems bad.